This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
13 games are featured in Friday's main slate, going off at a traditional 7:05 p.m. EDT. Only the Angels don't have a listed pitcher, giving us 25 arms to sort through. Weather mostly looks safe, and we're warming in some parts of the country, and seeing the ball fly a little bit more as a result.
Four arms are priced north of 10k, and if paying up, I'm probably choosing between Max Scherzer ($10,700) or Gerrit Cole ($10,000). Scherzer hasn't been perfect of late, but the strikeouts have remained plentiful, posting a season-low six in his opener while piling them up at 11.9 per nine frames, giving him a nice floor. Cole seems to be in a nice groove after a slow start, going for at least 46 FDP in three straight. The White Sox only fan 19.2 percent of the time, perhaps zapping some 5x upside, but their .274 wOBA and .120 ISO suggest Cole gets at least six innings with minimal damage.
For a slight discount, I have plenty of interest in Yu Darvish ($9,400), who's failed to reach 30+ FDP only once in six starts. He struck out eight the last time he face Atlanta, who whiffs at a 24.9 percent clip. Keep an eye on their lineup however, as it's far more appealing if Ronald Acuna's ($4,300) groin keeps him sidelined for another game.
Framber Valdez ($8,300) looks like a safe play Friday. Washington doesn't strike out (16.7 percent), but with an 84 wRC+ and paltry .086 ISO, there's no reason to think Valdez is hit hard. For even cheaper, an obvious/highly used selection we find Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,200). Baltimore fans at a whopping 27.5 percent against lefties, bringing just a .276 wOBA and .102 ISO with them.
If you're really feeling frisky, I don't hate Zack Greinke ($5,600) as the slate's lowest priced option. Yes, he's in Coors Field and has next to no strikeout upside. But he's been worth at least 20 FDP in three straight, going at least 5.1 frames in every outing. There's a path to 3-4x and huge offensive spending.
Oakland's Daulton Jeffries has allowed 22 hits and 15 runs in his last three starts, spanning 14.0 innings, and is allowing a .398 wOBA to righties. Building around the Angels top bats makes too much sense, so take your pick of Mike Trout ($4,500) and/or Taylor Ward ($4,300) as your budget allows.
Cleveland's Aaron Civale has seemingly been more unlucky than bad, sporting a 9.45 ERA but a 4.75 xFIP and a .381 BABIP that surely regresses. But he's struggled greatly on the road, allowing 16 runs in 10.1 innings and a .481 wOBA and 1.107 OPS to righties. That should put Byron Buxton ($4,400) on radars.
I'd expect casual players to build offenses around the Mets against Marco Gonzales. But if we're trusting this year's early returns, it's not as obvious as it seems. Gonzales has largely struggled with same-handed bats, while New York doesn't have a plethora of early success against lefties. The outlier is leadoff man Brandon Nimmo ($3,100) and his .400 wOBA and 165 wRC+. In theory, he gets on base and gives us exposure to the bigger names.
Salvador Perez ($3,300) has eight hits in his last six games but is still hitting just .200 and hasn't homered since April 22nd. Maybe he's due? He's priced up given form, but still offers an upside bat that boasts a .413 wOBA against lefties while also getting a Coors Field boost.
San Fransisco's Logan Webb is allowing a .380 wOBA to lefties against a .273 wOBA to righties, a number that swells to .576 in limited road exposure. Tommy Edman ($3,300) is the statistical choice, but for some additional value, the likes of Dylan Carlson ($2,400) and/or Brendan Donovan ($2,400) are in play.
Stacks to Consider
Velasquez hasn't been as bad as his low price ($6,400) suggests, and a 4.47 xFIP against a 3.97 ERA isn't awful. But he's a fly ball guy (47.8 percent) that's somehow allowed only 9.4 percent of those to leave the yard. That changes here. All three of these top Yankee bats have a wOBA of at least .401, a wRC+ of at least 173 and an ISO of at least .289. Stanton seems in the midst of a power surge, Judge is just a solid nightly play, and while Rizzo is slumping, I think his 47.5 percent fly ball rate should lead to some success in this matchup.
For a value stack, I'll head towards the desert. Davies isn't missing any bats (6.7 per nine) and walks more than most (3.9 per nine). That likely leads to problems against one of the league's more patient lineup, and helps play down strikeout concerns this trio can carry. Rivas is a terrific stand alone value play with a .423 wOBA and 172 wRC+ against righties, both team-highs. Contreras sits at .410/164 and Suzuki .374/140.